Thursday, 6 March 2008
Dáil Eireann Debate
200. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the circumstances under which a non-EEA national spouse of an Irish citizen may gain long-term residence or become a naturalised citizen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9880/08]
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Brian Lenihan): Long term residence is an administrative scheme introduced in May 2004. Persons who have been legally resident in the State for over five years on the basis of work permit/work authorisation/work visa conditions may apply to the Immigration Division of my Department for a five year residency extension. In that context they may also apply to be exempt from employment permit requirements. Persons who have been granted permission to remain in the State on the basis of marriage to an Irish national do not qualify for consideration under this scheme.
The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. In the case of a non-national applicant who is the spouse of an Irish citizen those conditions are that the applicant must:
have had a period of one year’s continuous residency in the island of Ireland immediately before the date of the application, and during the four years immediately preceding that period, have had a total residence in the island of Ireland amounting to two years.
have made, either before a judge of the District Court in open Court or in such a manner as the Minister, for special reasons allows, a declaration in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State.
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